Mould, insects plague Surrey apartment building
Published Wednesday, September 7, 2011 3:18PM PDT
Tenants at a Surrey, B.C. apartment building say they're dealing a with a leaky roof and insect infestations, but they're not getting any help from their landlord or the government.
Kwantlen Park Manor in North Surrey has been plagued by problems with moisture and mould for years, according to tenant Sue Collard.
"Six-and-a-half years I've lived in this building, and I have not lived in a suite that does not leak," she told reporters at a rally.
She says major repairs to the roof are needed, and she's asked property manager William Grant to do the work, with no results.
Grant told CTV News that the roof has been a problem for a while, but he's not responsible for the long wait for repairs.
"I'm only the manager -- go to the goddamn owners. I've been fighting it for the last four years myself," he said.
The building is owned by the well-known Sahota family. In 2007, the roof of one of their East Vancouver properties, the Pandora, collapsed.
Collard has filed complaints with the province's Residential Tenancy Branch, which has ordered the Sahotas to make repairs. Eighteen months later, nothing has changed.
"The RTB is toothless or it's choosing not to use what teeth it has," Collard said.
The tenancy branch declined to comment on the dispute, but it has had the legal right since 2008 to fine irresponsible landlords $5,000 a day until repairs are done. This right has yet to be used.
Collard hopes the city will step in to protect the building's tenants, but Surrey does not have a bylaw governing standards of maintenance. Vancouver's standards-of-maintenance bylaw gives the city the legal right to go after negligent landlords.
The City of Surrey's social planning committee is considering the idea of bringing in a similar regulation, but in the meantime, it's up to the province to take care of enforcement.
The opposition NDP says that's where the government is failing British Columbians.
"These tenants are waiting for government to enforce a minimum standard of healthy living for anyone who lives in rental accommodation," Surrey-Whalley MLA Bruce Ralston said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Peter Grainger